In Memoriam: Dr. Christophe Boesch

The staff of the Indianapolis Zoo joins our colleagues around the world mourning the loss of primatologist and conservationist Dr. Christophe Boesch. He was dedicated to chimpanzee conservation for more than four decades. He was the founder and president of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation and an Indianapolis Prize DeHaan Finalist in 2021 and 2023.

Dr. Boesch’s research deepened our appreciation of these great apes. He transformed our understanding of cultural diversity in chimpanzees and revealed important insights related to the complexity of their tool use. Through his comparative research, he has helped us to better understand what it means to be human. He was a remarkable scientist and academician.

“Christophe was fiercely devoted to chimpanzees, and he made an authentic, positive impact on their conservation. His legacy is a source of hope and optimism for everyone who cares about protecting nature,” said Dr. Robert Shumaker, Indianapolis Zoo President & CEO.

In 2000, Dr. Boesch founded the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation to focus on protecting chimpanzees and other wildlife by preserving and protecting their habitat. To date, WCF has engaged local communities to protect land in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Guinea. His work continues through his students, colleagues, and the many people who are inspired by his tremendous accomplishments.

We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

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